Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo) - adventure

Wow, you'd think this wouldn't be so difficult.

Sunday night I thought I'd make Chicken and Rice with some boneless chicken thighs I had in the freezer. I've never made it before but figured it couldn't be that difficult. I searched through some cookbooks and then online and surprisingly enough could not find a recipe for Spanish Chicken and Rice. And I note Spanish here because I did find plenty of South/Central American recipes but not a one from Spain. How can you tell? Well, there are two easy give aways. Rice in Spain is a medium grain variety. Now granted, I don't expect anyone to go to the expense/effort of importing rice from Spain but there are substitutes and short grain rice is easy enough to find (and much closer than long). So if the recipe called for long grain rice it was out. Secondly, Chicken and Rice does not include tomato sauce. It's referred to as "pasta" sauce for a reason - namely it doesn't belong on rice!

Anyhow, armed with some bits of ideas from different recipes and having watched my cousin make Paella a number of times I gave it a shot . . . and missed. In hindsight I made a number of missteps:

1) I cooked the garlic and onions first, then browned the chicken. When I started I figured I would get the flavor of the onion and garlic in the chicken if I cooked them first. In practice, I had to remove them from the pan to keep them from burning while the chicken browned. I added them back in with the rice but by that point I think I missed infusing the flavor into the rice. Oops.

2) I added the saffron to cold water. I used to add boiling water to saffron strands and then use the liquid (removing the strands). I've since found one can grind the saffron in a mortar and pestle for the same effect, however it looks like you still have to use hot water for that bright yellow color. I added it with the water immediately after the rice. I used more than I would have with the strands method but the dish was fairly tan in the end.

3) I skipped the beer and Rioja my cousin usually adds to his paellas (I've got some Bards Tale). Not sure how much this was missed but the dish lacked a bit of flavor.

So, I'll have to try this again sometime. Next time I'll be sure to have some green pepper on hand to add with the onion and garlic. I'll also look to correct my three gaffes above.

Overall it wasn't a bad meal, it just wasn't what I set out to prepare when I started!

1 comment:

Jason said...

I perfected an awesome recipe for Arroz con Pollo/Chicken and Rice that is both gluten and dairy free.

Visitors (Counted on Gluten Free/Dairy Free Waffles!)

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